Sunday, August 31, 2008

Take the box...2 Kings 9:3

I'm tired! No nap today. After breakfast we went to church and retrieved some items we forgot yesterday and then we went and got M. On the way home we stopped by the store to pick up a few items, including some ice cream. It was not all for me, I had ulterior motives. We then came home and ate leftovers from yesterday and some ice cream.

Once the kids were nice and happy I took them to The Garage...which has become a dumping ground for all things. I had them set up a lawn chair out in the sun for me (it was kind of chilly today) and I sat and directed. First, the children emptied the front of the garage of all things that have prevented me, in my current, enlarged state, from venturing to the back of the garage. I've actually been concerned about getting stuck between piles of boxes! Next, each and every plastic storage tote had evidence of spiders and rodents removed from it, was opened, and the contents were compared with the outside label. Those are all now stacked in a reasonable manner on one side of the garage.

We did find the boxes containing newborn-sized boy and girl clothes, so those are on the front porch waiting for me to wash them so they will be nice and fresh for the new baby. The other boxes of larger-sized clothing were stacked in "boy" and "girl" stacks so they'll be readily accessible when/if needed. I just recalled that I do have some boxes of girl clothes in my closet and Sacagawea's closet, so we'll deal with those tomorrow.

After I swept the garage and M re-stacked all the boxes, the younger kids proclaimed the garage completely clean (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha....). Too bad I don't have the camera, or I could show you some before/after pictures. I guess you'll just have to take their word for it!

Next, M and I put the canoe back in the garage (I'm still perplexed as to why/how it ended up in the garage in the first place rather than back in the barn, but in case there is a really good reason, back in the garage it went) and he neatly stacked all the paint cans, etc. that were in the driveway back in the garage. The driveway in now clear of all items that were taken out of the garage, I was able to shut the garage door, AND I can get out the door from the utility room to the garage. In addition to getting into the garage, I can walk comfortably around the canoe, and safely walk to the back of the garage to the freezer.

We do have a few boxes of items on the front porch that I think can go in the dumpster, but I'll let The Man make the decision on those when he returns. Is there really any reason to keep the old motherboard from the computer we upgraded over 8 years ago? I don't think so, especially since we bought a new computer 6 years ago. Is there any reason to keep operating system and software disks from that old computer, other than nostalgia?

We got an email from The Man this morning letting us know that it is ok to call him, but he can't call us. So, we all got to talk to him again tonight. And, since he is able to check the blog, I'll ask him...

What was the canoe doing in the garage?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The weasel...Leviticus 11:29

Several weeks ago as we were coming home, we noticed two animals frolicking in the driveway. The Man identified them as weasels. Most of us had never seen weasels in real life before, so that was exciting. We think that our pair are long-tailed weasels.

A few weeks later when M's nightly egg collection dropped off to nearly nothing, we suspected the weasels. After some encouragement, he started making frequent trips to the hen house during the day. Sure enough, the first day of frequent trips produced 11 eggs.

Since M has more important things to do than make hourly trips to the hen house, the other children are often sent and come back with tales of weasels in the nesting boxes eating the eggs. Our field guide states that weasels are beneficial animals. If they really are as great at taking care of rodents as the experts say, we would love to have them on our property. We certainly don't mind sacrificing a few eggs now and then to help control the ground squirrel population.

M went home with some friends after church today, so S went to gather the eggs when we got home. We were all surprised when he came back with seven since we had been gone for nearly five hours (potluck today at church). After my nap :) I sent J out to check for some more eggs. He came back with the report of the hen/weasel fight in the hen house and a punctured egg in the nesting box. Both creatures were ruffled, but the weasel ran off when J entered the hen house.

Now what do we do? We do have a small live trap that we could set under the hen house tonight baited with eggs...but then what? So far, they haven't actually harmed any of chickens. Of course, it is a holiday weekend, so I can't get any advice from fish & game until Tuesday. By that time, I might as well wait for The Man to return on Wednesday.

I'm pretty sure that our hen house, which is up on blocks with a wood floor, is weasel-proof at night when the doors are closed. Those hens have shown that they can be mean when they need to be during the day. I guess we will try to wait it out unless the weasels prove they are after more than just our eggs!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Return unto his own family...Leviticus 25:41

The Man is gone. He left about 4:30 yesterday afternoon to drive to the airport with a couple from our church. They spent the night in the airport city and this afternoon they started on their journey. Right now they are probably* somewhere over the Pacific Ocean on their way to Chile. They are doing a "site visit" to get ready for the church mission project next February. The other man promised he would make sure The Man got back safely. He better.

After they left, the kids and I left the empty house and went to the local farmers' market. Yum! We have such a short growing season at our elevation so it is nice to at least see some of the potential of our area. We left with some melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, currants, and corn. From there, we went to the church and worked on organizing some of the materials left over from the fair booth. Soon it was time for the mid-week service. We received a lot of squash and some lemon cucumbers from one of our members.

Sacagawea & S usually color left-over children's bulletins or draw during the mid-week service. Last night Sacagawea traced her hand and wrote, "I love Mom and the Man" in it. I didn't realize she paid that much attention to this blog!

You may just be seeing more posts from me this week while The Man is gone. He took the camera with him, so I won't have the pressure of trying to upload pictures via our dial-up! I still have a lot of catch-up posts brewing, so I'll try to get them posted this week!

*I just tried tracking the flight on, but because it is an international flight, they can't track it. If anyone knows of an international friendly site, please let me know before next week!
Update: I should have G**gled a few minutes ago. I found the flight map on He IS currently over the Pacific traveling at a ground speed of 534 mph. The kids were happy to see that the flight status is "In Flight." Only another 6 1/2 hours to go!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In the eighth month...Zechariah 1:1

A few have been asking, so here is a pregnancy update...still nice and boring! I went in for my 30 1/2 week appointment on Wednesday. I have 9 weeks and 2 days (give or take) until we get to meet the little one. The other 4 arrived on their due dates or a few days early, so I don't know what I'll do if this one decides to hold out on us.

I did get a lecture from my OB last month for my excessive weight gain. I got another lecture on Wednesday from the FNP because I'd gained too little. The last time I saw multiple providers with a pregnancy was with M, and I got the conflicting lectures then also. Oh, well! Overall, my weight gain stands at a healthy 19 1/2 lbs. The baby seems to be measuring just fine also.

The FNP told me that last month the baby was breech (the OB never said anything to me, but she noted it on my chart). On Wednesday the FNP said it seemed transverse. I think this child is preparing for the Olympics, because it certainly likes moving around quite a bit, especially at night as I'm trying to get comfortable in bed. The Man laughs at the "Pregnancy Palace" that I build with all the pillows in the bed trying to support anything that needs supporting. By 36 weeks, we hope he or she settles down into the proper position.

S and Sacagawea love sitting up next to me so they can feel the baby kick them. Funny...they often get upset if any of the other siblings even touch them. We shall see how they feel about a younger sibling kicking them in a few years.

We're still discussing baby names. As a rule, I refuse to tell anyone what names we are considering until after the birth. It makes it a bit harder for people to say how much they hate the name if there is a cute baby gazing up at them! I will say that The Man and I haven't found any that we both agree on yet. The Man said his biggest fear is that we won't get a tax break for this baby, because we won't have a SS#, because we won't have a birth certificate, because we can't agree on a name! I think he was kidding.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Teach them diligently...Deuteronomy 6:7

This post contains photos that may not
be suitable for squeamish visitors.
Viewer discretion is advised.

Last week we "officially" started our school year. The kids have all been doing some school since the new books started arriving in the mail. M couldn't wait to get started on his Spanish, J was eager (yes, eager!) to do his new math program, and Sacagawea begged to start reading. S was the only one who wasn't keen on starting school...until I told him that if Sacagawea kept up at the pace she was going, she would pass him up by the end of the year. That got him started!

Our school day started promptly at 8:30 as The Man was leaving for work. He gave a health & safety lecture/demonstration as he removed the
stitches from S's leg. One of them out... Then the next one... Then the third... All done... There! I certainly hope S learned that lesson!

The Man gave M his assignments and then went to the office. I decided we (the three younger children and I) were going to ease into the school year by just doing science on Monday. I really like the Apologia Zoology book we are using this year. After I read the first part of the chapter, J and S got started on an experiment related to why birds are able to fly. It involved experimenting with water and air currents.
Once they got the table (and each other) nice and wet, I had them dry off the table (and the floor) and take their water outside where they could experiment to their hearts' content. Then, Sacagawea and I sat down at the table and got started on her bird lapbook. It was loads of fun, involving lots of paper, glue, and staples.

Just before 1:00, I called a certain child to clear the table for lunch. I heard a scream. Apparently the child decided to play with an item instead of putting it away.

"Take me to Daddy's clinic, NOW!" the child wailed.

I tried to hold in my giggles at the predicament in which the child had placed himself. It was NOT funny. The child was in pain. "There's no reason to go to the clinic, Daddy is on his way home for lunch." I did attempt to call The Man on his cell phone, but he didn't have it on yet, so I called the office. He had just left, but I was transferred to The Man's assistant. I explained the predicament, and after he asked a few questions about the situation, I was given permission to deal with it on my own.

I went back inside (I had gone outside to place the call since the child was crying too loudly) and explained that The Man was on his way home, but I could take care of it...right after I took a picture (to show The Man, of course).


Yes, the staple went in all the way. After I took the picture and retrieved the pliers, the child refused to let me touch it, but preferred to wait for The Man. Fine. I did give him some OTC pain reliever, not that I thought it would do any good, but I wanted him to think I was trying to help.

We went into the living room and I read him a book to calm him down while everyone else started eating. He was afraid he was going to lose the finger until I told him that people go to the ER all the time to have The Man put staples INTO them. He was going to be just fine.

I tried calling The Man again, and was able to get through. I told him not to stop anywhere, including the post office, on the way home, but just come home. He arrived a few minutes later. The child still did not want it removed. He insisted on a shot of Lidocaine until The Man explained that the type he had would hurt worse than the removal. After about 10 minutes, he finally consented to The Man pulling it out of his finger. Less than a second later, it was out and the child was on the mend.

Whew! We made it through the first day of school...barely! Fortunately the rest of the week involved more academics and less drama and trauma.

Over in the sidebar to the right I have included some of the books the children are using this year. Those are not complete lists (I haven't included the Bible/character resources...we use so many and they vary from day to day), nor do we do every item every single day. They may or may not be the exact edition we are using, and they may or may not be linked to the exact place we bought them from, but I tried to include links to all of our favorite homeschool suppliers. Please let me know if you find any broken/wrong links. I put those lists together rather quickly.

Some of the items are things we have used in the past, such as the Story of the World history series. I really like the activity books and CDs. I can do one or two other things while they are listening to the chapter being read to them, then they can go outside to work on the activity. This week they gathered sticks to build nomadic shelters. "We're HAPPY! We're No-mad!" they declared to The Man when he arrived home for lunch on Tuesday. They pulled him outside after lunch to inspect the structures.

Other items, such as Rod and Staff English, are new for our homeschool. The reading program that M used through his elementary years had quite a bit of English built into it, but the reading program the other two boys are using isn't quite as extensive. Since J has never done "English" before, I started him with S at level 3. J is breezing through it, and I'll probably have him skip the next book or two if he continues doing well.

M thrived with Saxon math up through Algebra last year. J was doing ok with Saxon, but when I saw the Teaching Textbook program, I thought it might suit him better. I was right. I'm glad we made the switch. Math is far less stressful for both of us. I'll probably use Saxon to supplement some of the lessons, but the computer/audio format works for J.

S's favorite subject is definitely Art! He is loving that this year.
I'm loving the art because it is a perfect activity for the children to quietly work on while I take my afternoon nap! S is hovering between 2nd & 3rd grade level work, depending on the subject.

Sacagawea's list seems pretty intensive for a first grader, but she loves doing school. She can get through the entire list of subjects in less than an hour. She plays while I get the boys started, then we work together in between the boys needing help.

The Man and M designed M's freshman year courses. I told The Man that he had to put time limits on how long M could spend on each subject...he was spending so much time in his room studying that J was complaining that he didn't get to see him anymore! He's only been working on 3-4 subjects a day. So far, he seems to be enjoying it all. He's anxious to learn Spanish well before the mission trip to Chile next February!

M did tell me that he needed a graphing calculator for his Algebra (he's finishing up the last few chapters from Algebra I before he starts on the Algebra & Trigonometry). I pulled out mine that I used in high school and college. After we get new batteries for it, it should be suitable at least for this year. I told him that it a piece of history!

*The child later gave complete permission to blog about the incident IF I would finally post the child's birthday post first.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Birthday...Genesis 40:20

I love you, J. A lot. The fact that later this week you will be 11 years and 2 months old, and I am just getting around to doing your

Happy Birthday!

post just means that we had sooooo much fun for your birthday this year that I've been procrastinating loading all those pictures!

Your birthday celebration started off a few weeks early when we were in Indiana. Grandma and Grandpa got you cupcakes, ice cream, and your very own digital still/video camera. Unfortunately, I was in my inertia mode and I don't have any photos of that celebration on my camera. Grandma?

On your actual birthday, June 22, we celebrated with a family picnic with some ice cream cone cupcakes. Notice it looks like "11." Yep, that was planned!
We weren't at home, and I forgot to pack the matches. Fortunately Daddy had his magnesium/flint fire starting tool handy and lit up a napkin to light the candles.
Unfortunately, the napkin was a bit hard to "blow out."

You got a new Lego set from your siblings and instructions on how to build a air car/hovercraft from Mom & Dad.

That next week you and Daddy collected all the miscellaneous supplies and worked on putting it all together.
Daddy was skeptical that it would actually lift a 200 lb. person with just one old vacuum cleaner motor.
He was right, although it did work (a little) with the 2 1/2 year old guest at your birthday party. We're on the lookout for a heavier-duty motor to replace the current one.

I had fun making a skirt for you for your birthday! OK, so it was a skirt to go around the edge of the hovercraft to keep the air where it is supposed to be, but I had fun telling everyone that I was making a skirt for you! I couldn't find any nylon thread in our local stores that the directions called for. Fortunately I found some in the stash from the sewing cabinet passed down from your great-grandmother.

We put off your birthday party until the Sunday after your birthday. You requested tomato sandwiches! We had the same lemon cake that M had for his graduation, but instead of icing, we just put the raspberry jam on top. You made the ship with smoke stacks resembling "11." Of course, there was homemade strawberry ice cream also.

You got lots of fun noisemakers (it's kind of fun to have a birthday near the 4th of July), squirt guns, and water balloons.
A good time was had by all the little and big kids. No pictures, I had to keep my camera dry! Thank you for being so patient waiting for me to finally do a blog post about your birthday!

Monday, August 04, 2008

The swallow...Jeremiah 8:7

While we were gone on vacation, the barn swallows got busy laying their eggs...

There were only four last year, but this summer they laid FIVE! How appropriate!

I wasn't holding my breath expecting them all to survive, especially considering how I rescued one of the babies from the porch last summer.

Mama and Papa faithfully watched over the eggs.

On Friday, June 27, the first babies hatched (that's a week earlier than last year).

By Friday evening four were hatched (notice the bit of egg on the left side under 2 of the babies' heads).

Saturday morning S found a bit of eggshell on the welcome mat.

Sure enough! Five babies in the nest!

By the next day, feathers were beginning to sprout.

After that, it was a bit hard to identify parts, so they were left alone for a few days.

It wasn't until we were able to count five beaks hanging over the edge of the nest that we knew they were all still alive and well.

A top view...I didn't have to rescue any of the birds this year, although there were some risk-takers. Most of the birds stayed safe in the nest, but this one liked living on the edge...
I nicknamed him "J."

They grew so fast. Here are two of the "babies" in the nest...
Where are the others?
Trying out their wings, of course!

This is a picture to show what we have had to deal with by the swallows building on the other side of the door this year...
You'll notice what is directly under the nest...the door handle! That picture was taken right after M cleaned up the door handle, but let's just say we were rather creative about opening the door the past several weeks. We even tried just keeping the screen door propped open, but then the parent birds would perch on the top edge of the screen and make messes on the inside of the screen also. Ick.

The birds have all abandoned the nest now, but the last time we were able to see them all in the same vicinity, there were five babies flying around.

Sweet to thy taste...Proverbs 24:13

The Man's brother called last week and asked me if we wanted any blueberries. That's kind of a silly question, don't you think? I placed our order and last night he met The Man up in the city to drop off 50 pounds of organic blueberries.

While The Man was eating a late supper, I got started on taking care of the berries. I gave them a quick rinse and placed them in a colander to drain while I removed a few stems that were still on the berries. After letting them drain for a bit, I placed the berries in quart-sized freezer bags. Then I ran into a problem. I realized that we weren't going to get many in the freezer if I kept popping them into my mouth!

I told The Man that I needed some help. He was more than happy to oblige. I rinsed and drained the berries while he filled the bags. Then I realized that he was having the exact same problem that I had been having...except he didn't view it as a problem!

We put 10 pounds of the berries in the refrigerator to enjoy fresh, 18 very full bags in the freezer, and several trays that we will let freeze before we bag them. Yum!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Many books there is no end...Ecclesiastes 12:12

Books, books, books. Anyone that has been in our house knows that we have a lot of books, and that is an understatement. Last month we boxed up nine boxes of books and relocated them to the garage in anticipation of the new school books that had been ordered. Unfortunately, within a few days the empty space had been filled by books from other places around the house. Where were we going to put the new books?

Sew Crafty Friday to the rescue! We measured the other homemade shelves in the same room and figured what dimensions we would need to fit the best space we could come up with for new shelves. The kids and I went up to the big city and bought the lumber (not for the back, The Man said we had plenty of scraps in the shop for the back).

The Man and boys carefully cut, measured, and drilled last Sunday to get the shelves complete. On Monday M stained them (with my supervision). On Monday evening we brought them into the house and started loading them up with books!

Here are the new shelves that The Man and boys put together:

Here is the top:

Here is the bottom:
Once they are filled with books nobody will notice that the grain on the back is horizontal on one shelf and vertical on the other. But I'm NOT complaining. I'm just glad they are DONE and I can fill them. They are almost full already...

Sorry I've been MIA in the blogging realm. Too much to do, and not enough energy to do it all. I have two or three other posts started. I hope to have y'all caught up on our fairly non-eventful (HA!) lives before the baby comes. Speaking of the is coming up next week.

Oh, I did finally update this post with a picture of The Man's beard. Enjoy.